Photo by Cleve Nash
This is the seventh in a series of tales about the “famous and not-so-famous birds of Morro Rock.”
A little town about twelve miles north of Morro Bay called Cayucos, somewhat quaint, no stop signs or signal lights. The main drag is about three blocks long, with a pier, a beach and a few pubs. It was settled by Swiss Italian dairymen and Portuguese laborers. Behind the town is a range of mountains, small in size, it rises up. On top is a reservoir that was built for a domestic water supply.
About three years ago, a pair of bald eagles took up residence around the lake which is fed by several streams which held steel-head trout, this being a great food source for the eagles plus catfish, carp, etc. No one can remember if they ever nested there, but that first year they had three young. Th following year they had two young.
In the late summer they got adventurous and traveled around. Needless to say, they came to Morro Rock and were greeted by a cast of falcons. Both males and females from north and south sides joined in to what would become a very exciting ten minute pitched battle. I watched as the two large dark birds approached the south side of Morro Rock over the jetty from the north. I knew they weren’t vultures; their wings were too flat. In a moment they were over Cleve and me. The two south side falcons were already coming down on the eagles at speed. They split the two birds and singled out one. The other beat it around the corner to the north side soon to be intercepted by the north side pair of falcons. By this time there is a lot of screaming up and down the parking lot. Cleve managed to get off a few shots with his Canon 500mm. I didn’t get to see what happened on the north side, but we all heard it. The young bald eagles retired with a few less rump feathers, but none the worse. They returned three more times in the next four weeks.
The adults did not nest this year, but they are still at the Whale Rock Reservoir. Jack and Pedra Clayton, a couple local birders, saw them today along with pintail, gadwall and other assorted waterfowl.
Happy trails, Bob
P.S. Whale Rock Reservoir – northbound on Highway 1, turn right on Old Creek Road, first signal before Cayucos, continue Old Creek Road to Cottontail Creek Road, turn left, find a pull-off and enjoy.